Were There Really No Black People in Mayberry?

Here is the latest in a series of examinations into urban legends about TV and whether they are true or false. Click here to view an archive of the TV urban legends featured so far.

TV URBAN LEGEND: There were no black people in Mayberry.

Let’s get it out of the way right off the bat. In the entire eight season run of The Andy Griffith Show, there was only one black character who ever had a speaking line.

That’s pretty weak.

That said, the oft-repeated claim that there are no black people in Mayberry is false on the face, not even counting the aforementioned Rockne Tarkington, who played Opie’s football coach, Flip Conway, in one of the later seasons of the show.

In addition, I am not counting Mayberry RFD, which was better with regards to black characters having speaking roles.

No, just counting regular episodes of The Andy Griffith Show, there were frequent usage of black extras on the show.

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